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NMCG & Sahakar Bharati Organises ‘Vishaal Kisan Sammelan’ in Sonipat, Haryana

NMCG has collaborated with Sahakar Bharati to interact with and promote 'Natural Farming' among farmers in the Ganga Basin, as well as to hold training programmes on how to achieve 'More Net-income Per Drop' through 'Natural Farming.'

Shivam Dwivedi
Glimpse of 'Vishaal Kisan Sammelan’ in Sonipat, Haryana
Glimpse of 'Vishaal Kisan Sammelan’ in Sonipat, Haryana

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Sahakar Bharati organises a 'Vishaal Kisan Sammelan' workshop on 4 October in Bayanpur village, Sonipat, Haryana, as part of a targeted campaign under the Namami Gange Programme and Arth Ganga to promote Natural Farming among farmers in the Ganga Basin.

More than 200 farmers attended the workshop, which was presided over by NMCG Director General G. Asok Kumar. Representatives from Sahakar Bharati, State and District Level officials, and NMCG officials also attended the event. DG, NMCG participated in a plantation activity organised during the workshop and visited a stall of local organic products set up by the people of Bainyapur Lehrada Village on the main Rohtak Road to highlight the importance of 'Natural Farming.' A farm visit to Gurukul Farms in Kurukshetra was also organised, where NMCG officials learned about the various Natural Farming technologies.

This is the third meeting with farmers in the Ganga Basin in recent weeks, following workshops in Shirdi, Maharashtra, and Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh, on August 19th and September 5th, 2022, respectively.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on August 16, 2022, in the presence of Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, between NMCG and Sahakar Bharati to achieve the vision of a sustainable and viable economic development through public participation, the creation and strengthening of local cooperatives, and the realisation of Arth Ganga's mandate, which aims to connect people with the river through a "bridge of economics."

The MoU envisions 75 villages in five states along the main stem to be designated as 'Sahakar Ganga Grams,' promoting natural farming among farmers, FPOs, and Cooperatives in States along Ganga and generating 'More net-Income Per Drop,' and facilitating marketing of natural farming/organic produce under brand Ganga through the creation of market linkages, promote people-river connect through economic bridge etc.

In his address to the gathering, DG, NMCG, G. Asok Kumar provided an overview of the country's emerging water scarcity, particularly groundwater, and emphasised Natural Farming, which was advocated by the Prime Minister during the first Arth Ganga meeting in Kanpur in 2019, as a solution to address the issues of water scarcity and water contamination, eventually contributing to the rejuvenation of Ganga and its tributaries.

"To ensure food security in India, a Green Revolution was witnessed in the 1960s, with farmers being the most important contributors, and the country is indebted to the farmers, particularly from Haryana and Punjab, for ensuring we are all well-fed," Kumar said, adding, "However, despite opposition, the use of tube wells and bore wells also increased around that time, and groundwater extraction was preferred over canal irrigation for various reasons." Kumar went on to say that the extraction of groundwater, as well as the extensive use of technology and pesticides, has resulted in water scarcity and contamination, as well as a loss of touch with nature.

"Friendly bacteria have vanished, as have earthworms, and soil quality is deteriorating due to pesticide use, giving rise to various diseases," he said, adding, "In light of this, the Prime Minister has been emphasising shifting to Natural Farming and relying on the wisdom of our ancestors for water management and food cultivation." Kumar provided an overview of the Namami Gange Programme, which the Prime Minister advocated for in 2014 with a budget of Rs. 20000 crores. He told the audience about the positive impact Namami Gange has had on the water quality of the Ganga, and how the thriving biodiversity is a testament to the Nirmalta and Aviralta of the Ganga.

In explaining the Arth Ganga concept, Kumar stated that Natural Farming is one of the most important components of Arth Gang. As a result, NMCG has partnered with Sahakar Bharati to interact and promote 'Natural Farming' among farmers in the Ganga Basin, as well as hold training programmes on how to get 'More Net-income Per Drop' through 'Natural Farming.'

Speaking about some novel initiatives undertaken by the National Water Mission during his tenure as Managing Director, Kumar stated that a meeting with 1500 farmers was organised in Kurukshetra as part of the 'Sahi Fasal' initiative, which aimed to persuade farmers to switch from paddy cultivation to maize cultivation for greater profit and less water usage.

Another initiative, 'Catch the Rain: Where it Falls, When it Falls,' was launched by the Hon. Prime Minister on the occasion of World Water Day on March 22, 2021, emphasising rainwater harvesting at the source. He went on to say that there is an urgent need to shift away from the traditional approach of building dams and toward rainwater harvesting in order to ensure a water-secure future for future generations.

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